All six islands of the Dutch Caribbean benefit from funding provided by the Dutch Postcode Lottery aimed at an essential conservation effort—saving shark species. Scientific research is an important component of the Save Our Sharks project which will give insights about the species of sharks frequenting the waters and reefs of Bonaire.
Many people don’t even realize that Bonaire has sharks in its waters since they are spotted so infrequently. When divers encounter sharks, the sharks are often skittish and swim away, although nurse sharks will mostly just lie on the bottom. In order to investigate the sharks of Bonaire, STINAPA staff and interns will gather visual data for the next few months with the BRUV units (Baited Remote Underwater Video). These stainless steel units are equipped with fish bait and a video camera and are left on the bottom of the sea for an hour and a half and then retrieved. The video is then analyzed for images of sharks – which species, size, etc. STINAPA is eager to learn more about Bonaire’s top predators.
Similar research is being conducted in Saba, Statia, St. Maarten and Curacao. Sharks and rays are overfished throughout the world’s oceans and are currently protected by law in Bonaire. STINAPA wants to emphasize that this project does not include chumming the water with blood. The bait being used consists mostly of a few fish heads and is removed from the drop site after the hour and a half sampling period. Additionally, the purpose of this research is not to attract sharks to a particular site and therefore no site is revisited.
This is part of the DCNA #saveoursharks project funded by NationalePostcodeLoterij SaveOurSharksNL
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